I’m Traveling Alone

A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree with a jump rope around her neck. She is wearing strange doll’s clothes and an airline tag that says, “I’m traveling alone.”

A special homicide unit in Oslo is re-opened with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. He must convince his best investigator, the extremely talented but deeply depressed Mia Krüger, to leave the solitary island to which she has retreated in order to take her own life. When scrutinizing the murder files, Mia spots the number one carved into the dead girl’s fingernail. She returns to duty in order to prevent more little girls from falling victim to a revenge-driven serial killer who proves equally intelligent as ruthless.

Thanks to Mia’s extraordinary investigative skills, the police are able to trace an obscure lead back to a case that occurred six years ago, where an infant girl was abducted from a maternity ward in the town of Hønefoss. The baby was never found. Now Mia suspects the killer has something to do with the missing child – and that the terror in the present may be punishment for the police’s failure to clear up the past. When Munch’s six year-old granddaughter is abducted as girl number five, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal. Only she doesn’t realize how personal…

Meanwhile, deep in the woods near where one of the girls was found dead, a fanatical Christian sect leader is building a secluded compound. Mia realizes that the sect is connected to the nursing home where Munch’s aging mother lives, and that the killer they’ve been chasing has been right in front of them all along. The story’s many threads are woven together in a nerve-racking finale where both Munch’s granddaughter and Mia’s life are on the line.

I’m Traveling Alone is a complex, sophisticated, and terrifying crime thriller that shocks and surprises to the very last page. In the hands of expert storyteller Samuel Bjørk, the story moves seamlessly between the plotlines and the reader is constantly kept at the edge of their seat. The story is gritty, the style is fluid, and the cast of characters is irresistible.

I’m Traveling Alone is the first book the celebrated series featuring Holger Munch and Mia Krüger. It was nominated for the 2013 Norwegian Booksellers’ Award and became an instant international bestseller.

 

“If this is a debut novel, it is something of a literary sensation. Even writers with long experience are rarely able to compose their plots with such elegance and in a language so completely free of clichés as Bjørk does. […] With his first book about investigators Mia Krüger and Holger Munch, Bjørk has already qualified himself into the mystery writers’ elite division. Watch out, Jo Nesbø!”
Bergens Tidende (NO)

“One is tempted to call it a textbook on the modern crime novel. This is how it should be done. […] All the ingredients are there and they are combined by a steady hand.”
Folkebladet (DK)

“An incredibly suspenseful crime novel that captures you from the start.”
Plusbog.dk (DK)

“An absolutely brilliant Norwegian crime novel that has everything you want in a good story. Believable and interesting characters. A truly thrilling mystery and plot. And unexpectedly lovely descriptions of place that create a welcome contrast between scenes that take place in urban environments vs. the countryside.”
Aftonbladet (SE)

“Tense and smartly constructed narrative. […] instantly endearing.”
Wall Street Journal (US)

“Bjørk makes his debut in the genre, but obviously masters the craft at least as well as most of his more famous colleagues. […] (Both Bjørk and Modiano) depict the realities of life for abandoned children and teenagers. Honorable!”
Norran (SE)

“Harrowing and enthralling action sequences…”
Publishers Weekly (US)

“Bjørk constructs a plot like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, and somehow it all works.”
Kirkus Reviews (US)

“A breath of fresh air in the crowded Scandinavian crime genre, this suspenseful novel will hook readers early and keep them on the edge of their seat until the final pages. Fans of Jo Nesbø are sure to enjoy the flawed yet likable characters.”
Library Journal (US)

“Tense, thrilling and genuinely scary.”
Heat Magazine, 5 stars (UK)

“If you’re one of the millions who have developed an appetite for Scandinavian crime thrillers, then get ready to sink your teeth into this particularly juicy example. […] This is simply a terrific debut. The characters are completely believable, the plot is scalpel sharp and, as the hunt escalates, it will frighten the wits out of you in an utterly brilliant way.”
The Sunday Mirror (UK)

“For those who admire Scandinavian suspense novels (a group of aficionados growing in leaps and bounds), here’s one well worth your consideration: Samuel Bjørk’s riveting American debut, I’m Traveling Alone. […] The book begs for a sequel.”
BookPage (US)

“Two very appealing leading characters in the form of police officer Holger Munch […] and brilliant but disturbed profiler Mia Krüger. […] A compelling novel, with plenty of intrigue and some splendid action sequences.”
The Guardian (UK)

“This high-octane, super-tense account of a race against time to nail a psychotic serial killer was written in Norwegian and something of the cool Nordic atmosphere rises off the pages like a frozen mist. […] [Samuel Bjørk] writes with a crisp, swinging rhythm that not only translates well but has its own distinctive tone, especially in the dialogue between characters – short, snappy sentences; pithy exchanges. Delightfully easy yet stimulating to read. I loved it.”
Richard Madeley, The Richard & Judy Book Club (UK)

“I couldn’t stop turning the pages of this cold gallop of a story and I loved the working relationship between the two police protagonists. The conclusion does not disappoint and I can’t wait to read Bjork’s next novel – just as long as it’s about Mia and Holger. It’s a double act with a big future.”
JUDY Finnigan, THE RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB (UK)

“Suspenseful and he certainly knows how to write.”
Dagens Nyheter (SE)

“Nail-biting suspense. […] This is both a crime novel and a thriller that begins calmly and ends with an explosive denouement.  […] A mature crime debut.”
DAST Magazine (SE)

“It is seldom that I am genuinely frightened while reading books. The first time was with (Johan) Theorin’s Night Blizzard, and the most recent was with I’m Traveling Alone. The reader is pulled into the story in a very particular way and the experience of suspense is forceful and physical. With few words, Bjørk succeeds in creating a relationship between the reader and the characters. […] Bjørk plays a high stakes game by centering a story around the murder of children. It is like balancing on a knife’s edge, but Bjørk never slips and falls.”
Moss Avis, 6 Stars (NO)

I’m Traveling Alone is one of the best crime novels I’ve read this year. The characters are so real that it is almost as though they are sitting in my own living room. The plot is easy to follow and intelligently constructed. What’s more, there is something about the combination of children’s vulnerability and cold-blooded murder that makes this book impossible to put down. The story stays with you. For a long time.”
Brabok.no, 6 Stars (NO)

“A breathtaking and very compelling crime novel. We are completely engrossed from the first page and are happy to be guided through the story’s twists and turns in the company of Holger Munch’s genial investigators. I’m Traveling Alone offers several hours of first-class escapism – and we look forward to hearing more from Samuel Bjørk!”
Bokkilden.no (NO)

“Once you’ve read the first pages of I’m Traveling Alone you know you’re holding something special in your hands. […] An admirable debut.”
Vrij Nederland’s Thriller Guide (NL)

“Very enjoyable and will keep the reader hooked to the end.”
The Irish News (UK)

“The odd pair [Mia Krüger and Holger Munch] are memorable cops sometimes reminiscent of the duo in The Bridge in their interactions and respective personalities are as gripping as the complex, splendidly engineered plot which will keep you up all night until its multiple strands are cleverly pulled together. Bleak and hypnotic, so much more than your average Scandi crime book.”
Love Reading (UK)

“This story is dispatched with real élan. […] Mia’s confrontation with both her own demons and a very human one is mesmerising fare.”
The Independent (UK)

“I’m Traveling Alone is a spectacular novel, never a dull moment and impossible to put down. […] The plot is very thrilling, well-constructed and elegant. The variety of the characters and the events is perfectly built by Samuel Bjørk, who leaves nothing to chance. Not even a smudge, no imperfections: in short, an excellent novel.”
Paperblog (IT)

This is a book for Scandinavian noir devotees, who are legion. The Nordic novels that reach me are nearly always written with skill and empathy, feature sympathetic police detectives of both sexes and describes horrific crimes with almost dispassionate exactitude. This one, the first of a planned series, is from Norwayy. […] The story is exciting, the setting cleverly evoked, the translation excellent and, despite the appalling nature of the crimes, there is very little explicit. Welcome to a new voice and variations on an old theme.”
Literary Review (UK)

A very sophisticated and terrifying thriller, which keeps the reader guessing and gasping to the very last page. The story is powerful, the style is fluent, and the cast of characters is simply irresistible.”
Thriller Magazine (IT)

A superb thriller. […] I thoroughly enjoyed I’m Travelling Alone. It’s definitely a well plotted book, with a fantastic array of characters.”
Bibliophile Book Club, blog (UK)

“Bjørk can make virtually any character or scenario believable, and has an evident fascination with the psychology of humans and how they react to trauma. It will be a pleasure to see how this manifests in his future work, and meanwhile, I’m Travelling Alone constitutes not only a superb debut but one of the most diverting and satisfying crime novels of 2015.”
COAST (NZ)

“I was utterly spellbound by the quality of this Nordic narrative, which was engrossing to the point of addiction. It’s one of those books you can really lose yourself in, snatching your attention from the first chapter and refusing to loosen its grip.”
Little Bookness Lane, blog (UK)

“Samuel Bjørk has given life to a plot that keeps the readers breathless to the very end.”
La Republicca (IT)

“A scary police thriller that shocks the readers, keeping them in suspense until the very last page. The plot moves effortlessly between multiple threads, the writing flows and the characters are compelling and unforgettable.”
Hmerisia (GR)

“A breathtaking thriller from Norway.”
Eleftheros Typos (GR)

Samuel Bjørk is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Øien. Bjørk’s first installment in the Mia and Munch Series, I’m Traveling Alone, is an international success story that has gained critical acclaim and captivated readers all over the world, including hitting #1 on German newspaper Der Spiegel‘s bestseller list.

Learn more about Samuel Bjørk